Must-have dorm essentials under $50 – Billboard


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Are you going to university? Whether you’re a freshman or a returning student, you’ll need at least a few essentials to make life in the dorm (or other form of student housing) easier.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of dorm room essentials that should be on your list, along with the usual suspects: bedding, pillows, laundry bag, mini fridgeetc

Items listed come highly recommended on TikTokand they are Great affordable. In fact, everything on the list sells for $50 or less (some as low as $5) at major retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart.

Check out the full list below, and for additional recommendations, read our picks for the best backpacks, back-to-school laptop sales, and Airpods.

utility cart

From toiletries to school supplies, utility storage carts can have multiple uses and they look great in a dorm room. The cart shown below is equipped with three shelves and four casters for easy mobility.


3 Tier Utility Cart



34% off

Available in white, black, pink or turquoise, this utility cart measures 31.3 inches high and 16.5 inches wide. Installation takes approximately 15-20 minutes and can hold up to 22 books per shelf.

portable fan

No matter where you attend school, chances are you need a ventilator. If you’re pressed for space, a mini desk fan can help keep you cool without taking up too much space. This small but mighty TriPole desk fan is on sale for just $10 on Amazon.

Must-Have Dorm Essentials Under $50


Tripolar USB Desk Fan



47% off

The USB fan features a single power button with three adjustable speeds and a non-slip base. The 5.1-inch fan includes a 5-foot cable and weighs just over six ounces. For additional options, check out the Vernado Flippi V6 Personal Fan ($19.99), best-selling adjustable fans, or a tower fan like the Dreo Nomad ($69.99).

Hanging mirror

A full-length hanging mirror will come in handy when you’re dressing for school, and it can also expand the space. Target’s Room Essentials Mirror shown below is available in white, black, brown, or gray, and is designed to fit doors ranging in depth from 1-3/8 inches to 1-7/8 inches.

Must-Have Dorm Essentials Under $50


Mirror Over Door Room Essentials



If you can afford to spend a little more, try the Americanflat Hanging Mirror ($60), and if you’re looking for something smaller, a mini vanity mirror can add a nice touch to your dorm room, even if it doesn’t. does not offer a full-length view.

Desk lamp

For late-night study sessions, reading, makeup and more, a desk lamp helps you get the job done.

Must-Have Dorm Essentials Under $50


SALT TM Qi Charging Organizer desk lamp




Light up with this multifunctional desk lamp. It’s a great space saver and includes a USB charger and storage space for jewelry, change and other small items.

shower basket

A shower basket is essential! Especially if your dorm has a shared bathroom. But you can also use a shower cart if you live with off-campus roommates (and don’t forget to buy a pair of shower shoes).

Must-Have Dorm Essentials Under $50


Mesh Shower Caddy




The 9×9 inch mesh tote pictured above has nine pockets to hold your body wash, toothpaste, face wash, face towels, toothbrush, hairbrush and more. The base of the bag is made of Oxford fabric for increased wear resistance.

Want cheaper options? This plastic shower trolley is on sale for $5.99 and that hanging shower trolley is on sale for $6.99.

storage ottoman

Storage ottomans can be used as seating or ottomans, both perfect for the typically tight space of an average dorm room.

Must-Have Dorm Essentials Under $50


Linmagco 16 inch Small Velvet Ottoman


This 16 inch faux velvet ottoman isn’t just functional, it’s cute! The ottoman is available in three colors – lake blue, navy blue and purple – and can be used as a storage chest for clothes, books, blankets and more. Click on here to purchase additional poufs.


Dormitory mattresses tend to be small, hard and uncomfortable. Fortunately, a mattress topper can help change that. In addition to providing you with comfort and support, a mattress topper creates a barrier between your skin and the used mattress you sleep on (and it helps keep the mattress clean).

Must-Have Dorm Essentials Under $50


Twin XL mattress cover



17% off

The mattress topper pictured above – available in twin, twin XL, full, queen and king sizes – has received thousands of positive reviews from Amazon, especially for its comfort and affordability. The pillow is filled with a soft snow-down alternative fiber designed to look like real goose feathers.

shoe organizer

Need more storage items? Organize your shoe collection and more with an over the door organizer, shoe rack, or hanging closet organizer.

Must-Have Dorm Essentials Under $50


Mainstays 24 Pocket Over Door Shoe Rack



The clear hanging organizer above holds up to a dozen pairs of shoes and comes complete with four durable metal hooks.

bed risers

Bed risers have been a dorm room staple for decades. In addition to adding more height, the risers give you extra space to store items under the bed. (Click here for under bed storage organizers.)

Must-Have Dorm Essentials Under $50


These Utopia bed risers are available in different colors (black, white or brown) and can be adjusted from 3 to 8 inches. You might also be interested in these bed risers with USB ports and electrical outlets ($47.06).


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